Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" is notable for unraveling the difficulties of modern life through the sense of alienation and absurdity faced by Gregor Samsa. His transformation into a giant insect without any particular cause or justification for it creates a powerful story of an undeserved and incomprehensible fate.Continue Reading
While the transformation makes Samsa's outward appearance unrecognizable to his family, his mind remains mostly unchanged. Samsa continues to be preoccupied by human thoughts, retains his likes and preferences, and even tries to ask his boss to keep him as an employee. His actions almost make it seem as if he was completely unaware of his grotesque appearance. This suggests a discrepancy between body and mind, which is further emphasized when Samsa's mother and sister decide to move the furniture out of his room: although Samsa initially agrees to this as it makes the space more comfortable for his changed physical being, he soon realizes that his attachment to his personal goods provided his unchanged inner self with emotional comfort.
In many ways, it is possible to read "The Metamorphosis" as a reflection of Kafka's own life. Kafka, born in 1883 in Prague, lived most of his life in the shadow of his oppressive father: a successful businessman who pressured Kafka to take over the family business. Kafka's father disapproved of Franz's obsession with writing, and viewed him as a failure throughout his life.Learn more about Philosophy